Sometime before the sunlight snuck around the sides of the bedroom shades a delicious sounding summer rain began to fall. The darkness told me I need not rush out from under the comfort of my cotton quilt. 

I listened. 

I fell back to sleep with the peace of knowing the purple clematis would get her daily drink without me. The back yard’s newly sewn grass seeds would be grateful, too. 

At 6:22 the seven o’clock train announced its arrival in the distance, sounding the same whistle I’ve heard since I was a child. The window ledge pigeon and her two babies were silent, but the birds whose songs I vowed in the spring to learn but haven’t yet, sang good morning. 

 Time to wake up. 

The wheels of the cars of the early morning commuters whir their way down 13th Street.  An occasional semi rumbles, giving the building a slight shudder. Soon my listening turns to Today’s To- Do List reciting itself aloud in my head. The tasks report their presence as they run down their well-worn neuropathway of this human doer, drowning out sounds of life surrounding me. 

Last week a healer sent me a gift of a potion in a tiny blue bottle with a bright yellow label that said “Listen To Me.” Maybe this would be the morning I sample it. 

I once heard global humanitarian Lynne Twist tell her story of listening to an Ethiopian mother recount how her children died of famine, one by one.  People have a greater need to be listened to than to be talked to, Twist said. I worried I would never be as good at listening as I was practiced at talking.  

Fifteen years later I’m still unsure. 

Thankfully I am surrounded by forgiving and generous teachers who allow me to fail and try again. Ross who broke his ankle digging a ditch on his acreage whom I interrupted.  Margo whose soulmate entered memory care last week to whom I gave advice when I could have simply given my ear. Brenda’s two brothers who will try to hold it together at her memorial service on Saturday who got information when they could have gotten simply my wholehearted presence. 

Start where you are. Start small. Start. 

And so, I listen to the rain. 

Coach Koenig 

What do you value about being listened to? 

What gets in the way of you listening wholeheartedly? 

Who are you willing to listen to today?